As we head toward the close of 2015, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you all about what the Guild has been doing of late at The Canadian Press.
First, I want to offer my congratulations to Mary Jo Laforest for stepping up and becoming our new national Vice President, following the departure of Michel Lamarche from that role. Mary Jo has been an active Guild member for years who always brings her passion to the table and is never afraid to speak her mind.
The Branch met with management on November 18 in one of our regularly-scheduled quarterly meetings, and we discussed a range of issues.
– The company provided us with a financial update, and we were pleased to see that CP met, and slightly exceeded, its budget targets.
– Prior to the meeting, we asked the company to withdraw the layoff notification received last year that could have directly affected administrative and IT staff. Much to our relief, CP management has now formally withdrawn that notice.
– We asked about the company’s plans for replacing the IT manager in Montreal following Gaëtan Guindon’s sad passing. The company told us they are grappling with the issue, but indicated that the management role would not be filled. Instead, the company is looking at options that may include creating a bilingual presence in the Toronto IT department. IT staff and managers have told us that the language barrier is key, and the company says it is fully aware of that as it figures out how to deal with the service gap.
– Reporter-Editors and photographers who took part in coverage of the recent and lengthy federal election campaign will be aware by now that the company has decided on a formula for paying out accumulated election overtime. As required under the Collective Agreement, this formula treats employees in each category equally.
– We discussed the issue of CP video work being transferred to Pagemasters. It is the opinion of the Guild that finishing work on the video desk must be done by CP employees, and we offered the company several suggestions for how they can keep that work in-house while meeting the need to keep video production work within budget.
– Progress is being made on converting part-time employees to full-time positions where the amount of work needed warrants it. In recent months, four employees on the video desk and in the Sports Department have converted to full time. We will continue to monitor the use of part-time positions. If you have concerns or information, please get in touch with us.
– Finally, we continue to work toward stronger mechanisms for ensuring the health and safety of all employees, and ways to provide better training opportunities. We will continue that work, in concert with management, prior to our next joint meeting scheduled for February.
The Branch Executive will be meeting again in late January. I encourage everyone who has concerns/suggestions/ideas for making The Canadian Press a better workplace to get in touch with your local representatives, and let them know what you think.
In the meantime, I offer my sincere wishes that each and every one of you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. I also extend my hopes for a full recovery to those of our colleagues suffering with illness and personal difficulties.
CP Branch President